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Now: 1/6 Committee Holds Second Day Of Hearings. Aired 11:30a- 12p ET

Aired June 13, 2022 - 11:30   ET



BILL STEPIEN, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: His team, you know, me, less so because I was less involved at this point.

But still, me growing increasingly unhappy with Justin Clark, and that kind of, you know -- you know paved the way for, you know, Justin to be moved out and Mayor Giuliani to be moved in as the person in charge of, you know, the legal side of the campaign and for all intense and purposes the campaign at that point.


REP. ZOE LOFGREN, (D-CA): Now, when Mr. Stepien became campaign manager, he was the second campaign manager for the 2020 race. And there were only about 115 days until Election Day. So let's play the video.


STEPIEN: I inherited a campaign that was the day I was hired as I believe President Trump's low point in the 2020 daily average polling against President Biden. It was a -- it was a campaign at a low point in the polls.

It was structurally and fiscally deficient. You know, I -- you know, there was a great deal wrong with the campaign in both of those -- in both of those areas.

So most of my day is spent fixing what -- I think I took over with 115 days left in the campaign, most of my time is spent fixing the things that could be fixed with 115 days left in the campaign.


LOFGREN: Now, Mr. Stepien has been in the campaign field for a long time and he worked for lots of different candidates and campaigns.

He testified to this committee about his concerns, given the claims that Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Powell and their team were making a publicly. Let's play clip 15.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, it was important for you, Mr. Stepien, to sort of pull back just for your own professional reputation.

You didn't want to be associated with some of what you were hearing from the Giuliani team and others that sort of stepped in, in the wake of your departure.

STEPIEN: I didn't mind being categorized. There were two groups of family. We call them kind of my team and Rudy's team.

I didn't mind being characterized as being part of Team Normal as reporters, you know, kind of started to do around that point in time. You know, I said, you know, hours ago, early on that, you know, I've been doing this for a long time, 25 years.

And I've spent, you know, political ideologies from Trump to McCain to Bush to Christie, you know, and you know I can work under a lot of circumstances for a lot of varied you know candidates and politicians.

But a situation where -- and I think along the way, I've built up a pretty good hope, a good reputation for being honest and professional. And I didn't think what was happening was necessarily honest or professional at that point in time. So that led to me stepping away.


LOFGREN: So the president did get rid of Team Norvell. And I'd like to play a clip showing that the president found the people he needed to perpetuate his claims of fraud.


RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISOR: They saw a big truck bringing in 100,000 ballots in garbage cans, in wastepaper baskets, in cardboard boxes, and in shopping baskets.

And every single one of them was for Biden because they were being notified by Smartmatic in Frankfort that Biden was way behind and they better come up with a lot more ballots. And we can prove every single thing I just said.

If you gave me the paper ballots, I could probably turn around each one of these states. I'm absolutely convinced, if you -- if you let me examine each one of those ballots, I pull out enough that were fraudulent, that it would shake the hell out of the country.

SIDNEY POWELL, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: It can set and run an algorithm that probably ran all over the country to take a certain percentage of votes from President Trump and flip them to President Biden, which we might never have uncovered had the votes for president Trump not been so overwhelming in so many of these states that it broke the algorithm.

I remember that one of the things Mark said at some point was you can't show an actual vote was flipped, which I found at the time to be a remarkable assertion because you don't have to have the gun to see the body lying on the floor bleeding out with five bullet holes and it was killed by a gun. [11:35:24]

ERIC HERSCHMANN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ATTORNEY: What they were proposing, I thought was nuts. You know, the theory was also completely nuts, right? I mean it was a combination of Italians, Germans, I mean, different things have been floating around as to who was involved.

There may Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, and if he has an affidavit from somebody who says he wrote software, and it's something with the Philippines and just all over the radar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ever share with Mr. Kushner, your view of Mr. Giuliani? Do you ever share your perspective about him with the president?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell me what you said.

KUSHNER: Basically, not the approach I would take if I was you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. And how did he react -- how did President Trump react when you shared that view with him?

KUSHNER: Oh, he said, you know, I've confidence in Rudy.

MATT MORGAN, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN LAWYER: I think I had conversations with probably all of our counsel who are signed up to assist on Election Day as they disengaged with the campaign.

In general, a consensus was that law firms were not comfortable making the arguments that Rudy Giuliani was making publicly. I seem to recall that I had a similar conversation with almost all of them.

WILLIAM BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: I made it clear, I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff, which I told the president that was bullshit.

And, you know, I didn't want to be a part of it and that's one of the reasons that went into me deciding to leave when I did.


LOFGREN: Even Sidney Powell defending herself in a defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion voting systems, argued that "no reasonable person would conclude that her statements were truly statements of fact." Mr. Chairman, I yield back.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON, (D-MS): I thank the witnesses for joining us today. The first panel is now dismissed. Without objection, the Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California, Miss Lofgren.

LOFGREN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Last week, we presented the testimony of former Attorney General Bill Barr, who testified before this committee. Today, we present additional evidence, including his testimony that

former President Trump started making claims of election fraud immediately after the election and that Barr concluded the claims were untrue.

Now, due to the length of Attorney General Barr's testimony, we're only going to include relevant portions at the hearing today. So let's play the video.


BARR: The department in fact, when we received specific and credible allegations of fraud made an effort to look into these to satisfy ourselves that they were without merit.

And I was in the posture of trying to figure out -- there was an avalanche of all these allegations of fraud that built up over a number of days, and it was like playing whack a mole because something would come out one day, and then the next day, it would be another issue.

Also, I was influenced by the fact that all the early claims that I understood were completely bogus, and silly, and usually based on complete misinformation.

And so I didn't consider the quality of claims come right out of the box to give me any you know feeling that there was really substance here.


LOFGREN: For the first time since the election, the Attorney General spoke personally with the president on November 23, and this was at the White House. Let's play the video, please.


BARR: So on November 23, I hadn't spoken to the President since the election, and in fact, as I said since the middle of October, roughly. And it was a little getting awkward because obviously he had lost the election and I hadn't said anything to him.


BARR: And so Cipollone said you know I think it's time you come over here and so I came over to meet with the president in the Oval Office and Meadows were -- and Cipollone were there.

And the president -- and this is leading up to this conversation with Kushner. The president said there had been major fraud and that as soon as the facts were out, the results of the election would be reversed.

And he went on this for quite a while because he's prone to do and then he got to something that I was expecting, which is to say that apparently, the Department of Justice doesn't think that it has a role of looking into these fraud claims.

And I said, you know, that has to be the campaign that raises that with the State the department doesn't take sides in elections, and the department is not an extension of your legal team and our role is to investigate fraud and if -- we look at something if it's -- if it's specific, credible, and could have affected the outcome of the election. And we're doing that.

And it's just not -- they're not just -- they're just not meritorious, they're not panning out. And as I walked out of the Oval Office, Jared was there with Dan Scavino, who ran his -- ran the president's social media, and who I thought was a reasonable guy and believe is a reasonable guy.

And I said, how long is -- how long is he going to carry on with this stolen election stuff? Where is this going to go?

And by that time, Meadows had caught up with me and leaving the office and going up to me and said that -- he said, look, I think that he's becoming more realistic and knows that there's a limit to how far he can take this. And then Jared said, you know, yes, we're working on this. We're working on it.


LOFGREN: Even after his Attorney General told him his claims of election fraud were false, President Trump continued to promote these claims.


BARR: I felt that things continued to deteriorate between the 23rd and the weekend of the 29th. And then on November 29, he appeared on Maria Bartiromo's show, Sunday Futures I believe it was, and he said that the department was missing an action.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, no, we had glitches where they move thousands of votes from my account to Biden's account. And these are glitches. So they're not glitches, they're theft, they're fraud, absolute fraud. This election was over and then they did dumps.

They call them dumps -- big massive dumps in Michigan and Pennsylvania and all over. How the FBI and Department of Justice, I don't know maybe they're involved. But how people are allowed to get away from this stuff -- with this stuff is unbelievable.


LOFGREN: Now spurred by what he saw, Barr told The Associated Press on December 1 that there was no evidence of election fraud. And immediately after Attorney General Barr's statement went public, Mr. Trump berated and he nearly fired Barr.

That Barr persisted and telling the president that there was no evidence to support the fraud claims. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARR: He got under my skin, but I also felt it was time for me to say something and so on. I had set -- I set up a lunch with the AP reporter Mike Balsamo and I told him at lunch -- I made the statement that to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election.

I had a later meeting scheduled at the White House at three o'clock with Meadows.

This was previously scheduled so I knew this was going to come up. And I went over there and I told my secretary that I thought I would probably be fired and told not to go home. I mean not to go back to my office.

So I said you might have to pack up for me. And so when I got over there, I met with the chief of staff. He said the president was angry. He didn't really go get into the issue of the fraud.

And then I went up to Pat Cipollone's office and we were talking with each other and were came down that he wanted us both to go to the Oval.

And the president was as mad as I've ever seen him and he was trying to control himself. And the president said, well, this is kicking on killing me. You didn't have to say this. You must have said this because you hate Trump. You hate Trump.


BARR: And then he raised the big vote dump as he called it in Detroit and that you know said, people saw boxes coming into the counting station at all hours of the morning and so forth.

And I explained to him that I -- at that point, I knew the exact number of precincts in Detroit. I think it was 630, something.

And I said, Mr. President, there are 630 precincts in Detroit. And unlike elsewhere in the state, they centralize the counting process.

They're not counted in each precinct. They're moved to counting stations. And so the normal process would involve boxes coming in at all different hours. So there's nothing.

And I said, did anyone point out to you, did all the people complaining about it point out to you, you actually did better in Detroit than you did -- you did last time? I mean, there's no indication of fraud in Detroit.

And I told him that the stuff that his people were shoveling out to the public or bulk was bullshit, I mean, that the claims of fraud were bullshit. And, you know, he was indignant about that.

And I reiterated that they've wasted a whole month on these claims on the Dominion voting machines, and they were idiotic claims. And I specifically raised the Dominion voting machines, which I found to be among the most disturbing allegations.

Disturbing in the sense that I saw absolutely zero bases for the allegations, but they were made in such a sensational way that they obviously were influencing a lot of people -- members of the public, that there was this systemic corruption in the system, and that their votes didn't count and that these machines controlled by somebody else.

We're actually determining it, which was complete nonsense. And it was being laid out there. And I told them that it was-- it was a crazy stuff, and they were wasting their time on that and was doing a great grave disservice to the country.


LOFGREN: OK, so the very next day, the president released a video rehashing some of the very same claims that his chief law enforcement officer had told him are "nonsense."


TRUMP: Here's an example. This is Michigan. At 6:31 in the morning, a vote dump of 149,772 votes came in unexpectedly. We were winning by a lot. That batch was received in horror.

We have a company that's very suspect, its name is Dominion, with a turn of a dial, with a change of a chip, you can press a button for Trump and the vote goes to Biden. What kind of a system is this?

LOFGREN: Barr, again, told the president that there was nothing to these claims on December 14.

BARR: When I walked in and sat down, he went off on a monologue saying that there was now definitive evidence involving fraud through the Dominion machines, and a report had been prepared by a very reputable cybersecurity firm, which he identified as allied Security Operations Group, and he held up the report and he had many, many a set a copy of it be made for me.

And while a copy was being made, he said, you know, this is absolute proof that the Dominion machines were rigged.

The report means that I'm going to have a second term. And then he gave me a copy of the report. And as he talked more and more about it, I sat there flipping through the report and looking through it.

And to be frank, it looked very amateurish to me. It didn't have the credentials of the people involved, but I didn't see any real qualifications.

And the statements were made very conclusory like, you know, these machines were designed to, you know, engage in fraud or something to that effect, but I didn't see any supporting information for it. And I was somewhat demoralized because I thought, boy, if he really

believes this stuff, he has, you know, lost contact with -- he's become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff. On the other hand, you know, when I went into this and would you know, tell him how crazy some of these allegations were.


BARR: There was never -- there was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts are. My opinion then and my opinion now is that the election was not stolen by fraud. And I haven't seen anything since the election that changes my mind on that, including the 2000 Mules movie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May we know what the 2000 --

LOFGREN: Maybe you can assess that 2000 Mules and people are talking about that?

BARR: Well, I mean, just, in a nutshell, you know, I just think that the GBI was unimpressed with it. And I was similarly unimpressed with it because I think if you -- if -- because I was holding my fire on that to see what the photographic evidence was, because I thought, well, hell, if they have a lot of photographs of the same person dumping a lot of ballots in different boxes, you know, that's hard to explain. So I wanted to see what the photographic evidence was. But the cell phone data is singularly unimpressive.

I mean, it basically if you take 2 million cell phones and figure out where they are physically in a big city, like Atlanta, or wherever, just by definition, you're going to find many hundreds of them have passed by and spent time in the vicinity of these boxes.

And the premise that you know, if you go buy a box, you know, five boxes, or whatever it was, you know, that that's a mule is just an indefensible, it -- by definition, you're going to have a lot of hundreds of this.

I mean, one -- I saw one contractor said we figured out that our truck alone would account for six cellphone signals. This was a, you know, some kind of contractor. And, you know, our route would take us by these things on a regular basis.

So I -- but then, when the movie came out, you know, I think the photographic evidence and it was completely black. I mean, it was -- there was a little bit of that, but it was lacking in you know -- it didn't -- it didn't establish widespread illegal harvesting.

The other thing is people don't understand is that it's not clear that even if you can show harvesting, that changes the results of the election. You're not going to -- courts are not going to throw out votes and then figure out what votes were harvested and thrown out.

You'd still the burden on the challenging party to show that illegal votes were cast, votes were the result of undue influence or bribes, or there was really, you know, the person who was compos mentis. But absent that evidence, I just didn't see courts throwing out votes

anyway. I felt that before the election, it was possible to talk sense to the president.

And while you sometimes had to engage in you know a big wrestling match with him, and then it was possible to keep things on track. But I was felt that after the election, he didn't seem to be listening.

And I didn't think it was -- you know, that I -- that I was inclined not to stay around if he wasn't listening to advice from me or his other Cabinet secretaries.


LOFGREN: So on December 14, Barr quit. Now, the Attorney General wasn't the only person who told the president that his claims were false. Other officials and close advisers told him the same thing.


JEFFREY ROSEN, FORMER ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: Rather than trying to address a counterfactual or a hypothetical, let me just say, there were instances where the president would say, people are telling me this, so I've heard this or I saw on television, you know, this impropriety in Atlanta or Pennsylvania or something, and we were in a position to say our people have already looked at that.

We know that you're getting bad information that, that's not correct. It's been demonstrated to be incorrect from our point of view and has been debunked.

DEREK LYONS, FORMER COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: A month and a half or so, after the Election Day, and at that meeting, you know, various allegations of fraud or discussed.

And, you know, Eric, and Pat, didn't, you know, told the group, the president included, that none of those allegations had been substantiated to the point where they can be the basis for any litigation challenge to the election.



LOFGREN: President Trump's own vice president and his top advisors also knew that there wasn't evidence to support the claims that the president was making.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anyone else other than Mr. Meadows, who asked you about the status outside of your legal group, you know that Mr. Morgan and others you mentioned, and were able to ask you the status of what you were finding and your assessment of it?


CANNON: Peter Navarro.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When did you talk to Mr. Navarro?

CANNON: Mid-November.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Around the same time as Mr. Meadows?

CANNON: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And tell me about that conversation.

CANNON: I recall him asking me questions about Dominion, and maybe some other categories of allegations of voter fraud. I remember telling him that I didn't believe the Dominion allegations because I thought the hand recount in Georgia would resolve any issues with the technology problem and with Dominion or Dominion flipping votes.

And I mentioned at that time that the CISA, Chris Krebs, had recently released a report saying that the election was secure.

And I believe Mr. Navarro accused me of being an agent of the deep state working with Chris Krebs against the president. And I never took another phone call from Mr. Navarro.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anyone else besides Mr. Meadows, Mr. Navarro, Mr. Herschman that you had a discussion with inquiring about what you were finding in your review of the allegations that were pouring in?

CANNON: I believe I had about a 15-second conversation with the vice president about it as well.


CANNON: During one of the visits to the White House, I don't know which one. I think it was the first one in November. I was -- I had met him briefly at the campaign and he remembered me and saw me.

And he asked what I was doing on the campaign, and I told him that, you know, we were looking into some of the issues related to voter fraud.

And he asked me, I don't remember his exact words, but he asked me if we were finding anything and I said that I didn't believe we were finding -- or I was not personally finding anything sufficient to alter the results of the election. And he thanked me. That was our interaction.


LOFGREN: At a later hearing, you'll hear live testimony from the former acting Deputy Attorney General of the Department of Justice, Rich Donoghue. But now, I'd like to play a portion of his testimony.


RICHARD DONOGHUE, FORMER ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: I tried to, again, put this in perspective and to try to put it in very clear terms to the president. And I said something to the effect of, sir, we've done dozens of investigations, hundreds of interviews, the major allegations are not supported by the evidence developed.

We've looked at Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada. We're doing our job. Much of the info you're getting is false.

And then I went into, for instance, this thing from Michigan, this report about 68 percent error rate. The reality is it was only a 0.0063 percent error rate, less than one in 15,000.

So the president accepted that. He said, OK, fine, but what about the others? And again, this gets back to the point that there were so many of these allegations that when you gave him a very direct answer on one of them, he wouldn't fight us on it, but he would move to another allegation. So then I talked about a little bit about the Pennsylvania truck driver.

This is another allegation that had come up. And this claim was by a truck driver who believed perhaps, honestly, that he had transported an entire trip -- tractor-trailer truck full of ballots from New York to Pennsylvania.

And this was, again, out there in the public and discussed. And I essentially said, look, we looked at that allegation. We looked at both ends, both the people load the truck and the people unloaded the truck, and that allegation was not supported by the evidence.